Broforce (PS4) — Review

“A Bro is a hypermasculine action hero-style commando, who fights terrorists and rescues his/her bro teammates and prisoners of war from captivity.”  That is the definition of bro from the Broforce Wikia page.  If the word Broforce conjures images of musclebound characters gunning down terrorists with explosions surrounding them, then you are in for a treat.  Broforce is about as over-the-top as games come, almost as if a long “what if X was partners with Y and then Z came in and…” scenario was made into a game, and I loved every second of it.

It's a 14 year old boy's dream. I loved it.

It’s a 14 year old boy’s dream. I loved it.

  • TL;DR: Guns and explosions and helicopters and wailing guitars.  Stupidly entertaining.
  • Platform: PS4 (played), PC, Mac, Linux
  • Time Played: 7:00
  • What I Played: All campaign missions on normal difficulty

Broforce doesn’t lean into anything, including it’s first impression.  The opening splash screen features a steel eagle flexing it’s wings/arms while two American flags unfurl behind it.  There is a very light story involving saving the world from terrorists, as any good action hero should, but the bulk of the good times in Broforce come from simply allowing it’s ridiculousness to wash over you.

The controls are very simple.  Broforce is a 2D side-scroller so you are always aiming straight ahead.  You can move, shoot, and jump.  Each bro has a special attack, some of which I’ll get to later, with limited ammo.  You always die in one hit, but rescuing other bros while playing will give you an extra life along with swap out your current bro for another at random.

Free Lives and Devolver Digital skipped over anything resembling realism for Broforce as guns never need to be reloaded and bros tend to float up ladders instead of climbing them.  But, you know what?  That type of thing is secondary (at best) when enemies are exploding into fine red mists and just about everything you can see either disintegrates or explodes.  Red barrels, propane tanks, grenades, rockets — Broforce doesn’t lack in the destruction department.

This just about sums it up.

This just about sums it up.

There are fifteen areas in Broforce with a handful of levels in each.  Levels only take a few minutes, five at the most, to complete. Each area is marked with a threat level, a take on the post-9/11 color coded terror alert system, and starts with a brief from the commander of the bros, Nelson Brodela.  He’ll always have something motivational to say like, “these people look, speak, and act differently than us.  LET’S MOVE FAST!”

American flags act as respawn points, furthering the uber-patriotism in Broforce.  As I mentioned earlier, you’ll be rescuing captive bros which add to your life tally.  Unfortunately, you automatically switch to a new bro whenever you rescue a bro.  I’d have liked the option to stay with my current bro or switch to a new one.  In any case, levels end when you find Satan, complete with horns and a suit, atop a heavily-guarded tower.  After raising the final flag, you are airlifted out of the level as a guitar wails and everything below you explodes.  The light on the PS4 controller flashes red, white, and blue as AREA LIBERATED flies across the screen while a tally of all your kills is displayed.  All of this takes place while a deep, grainy-voiced announcer urges you to GO GO GO!!!  If you let it, Broforce will make you smile the whole time you play it.

The Wikia link at the top of the article has a full list, but here are some of my favorite of the 32 bros:

  • Brodell Walker: Chuck Norris from Walker, Texas Ranger.  He has an automatic shotgun and calls in red/white/blue colored airstrikes.
  • Bro Hard: John McClane from Die Hard, complete with an SMG and flashbang grenades.
  • The Boondock Bros: Connor and Murphy MacManus from The Boondock Saints.  Playing as these two actually gives you a second chance as when one bro dies, you are left with the other.  Their special is to call in their father, Il Duce, to add to the carnage.
  • Bro Max: Max Rockatansky from Mad Max joins the bros with an incendiary shotgun and a boomerang.  Side note: you should watch Mad Max: Fury Road if you haven’t yet.  It’s great.

New bros are unlocked as your rescue total goes up.  Each time you unlock a new bro, a splash screen welcomes them to the party similar to a Borderlands boss fight.  And yes, they all have bro-themed remixes of their names.  The award for the most ridiculous bro to play as may go to the Bro In Black.  He is armed with a laser that causes large explosions and kicks back so violently he lifts off the ground.  Hell, even the trophy list for Broforce is over-the-top.  There is an achievement to “literally punch Satan so hard that he explodes.”

I like the visual style of Broforce.  It’s pixellated, tile-based environments help set the retro scene that the characters bros and enemies all fit into.   You can play local or online co-op with up to four players as well, if you want to bro out with your bros.

Pure, unbridled, American joy.

Pure, unbridled, American joy.

Broforce is an excellent callback to the gaming days of yesterday and the action movies we all love deep down.  It’s got just about every 80’s and 90’s hero you can think of together in a single game.  Honestly, who wouldn’t want to kill terrorists and shoot Satan with Rambro and Indiana Brones?  I couldn’t get enough of Broforce once I started it.  It’s still free on PS+ for a few days, so if you haven’t grabbed it yet, I highly recommend that you do.

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